Granit Xhaka has been stripped of the Arsenal captaincy by Unai Emery, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang taking over, as reported by BBC Sport.
This decision comes after Granit Xhaka’s reaction towards the fans when he was substituted off against Crystal Palace, which has been his last action on the pitch to date, as the Switzerland international didn’t feature against Wolverhampton Wanderers or Vitoria de Guimaraes.
Speaking on the matter in his press conference, Emery said: “I had a meeting with him and told him he is no longer in the captain’s group,” said Emery on Tuesday.
“He accepted my decision. I needed to take a decision and now it’s closed.”
It’s a major talking point in English football right now and one that has stimulated debate among FFC writers.
Here’s what they’ve had to say in response to the Xhaka news…
“This is the best decision Emery could have made, for both Xhaka and the club. Considering what happened during the Palace game and the rift between the midfielder and fans, it seems difficult to see how he could continue as captain.
“Hopefully, with this decision having been made, the 27-year-old can now focus on his game, with slightly less scrutiny on him.
“It would be good to see him come out and show the fight needed to put in some impressive performances, possibly earning some of the respect back that he has lost from the fans.”
“The moment Granit Xhaka cupped his ear to the fans, goading them into a reaction, was the minute the Switzerland international needed to have the captaincy stripped.
“The role is meant for leaders of the team, who can help galvanise other players, and the supporters too. And it is safe to say, that the midfielder never truly looked like being a fan favourite.
“For Unai Emery, amidst great speculation that he is fighting to save his job this season, taking such decisive action on his on-pitch lieutenant shows a bit of authority. The Spaniard’s questionable decision to decide who the Arsenal skipper would be by letting the players vote smacked of poor management.
“For the good of the team, Xhaka needed to have his captaincy privileges revoked. And Emery got it absolutely spot-on.”
“This is the first good thing Emery has done all season. Given the period of time since the incident happened I was quite surprised that the captaincy was actually stripped from Xhaka.
I thought the longer time went on, the higher chance he had of being kept as skipper. However, you can’t throw an expletive towards the fans and expect everything to be the same.
“The Swiss should never have been made captain in the first place. He makes too many errors – in fact, he’s made seven errors leading to a goal since he arrived at the Gunners. Someone with that record simply cannot be relied upon to lead the team and what happened against Palace is indicative of that.
“This should be a beneficial decision for everyone. Not only will it give Xhaka somewhat of a break, but it could also lead to greater harmony surrounding the Emirates and the club in general.
“In short, stripping the 27-year-old of the captaincy was absolutely spot on. He may have issued an apology but he can’t be trusted. It wouldn’t now surprise me if his time in north London was completely finished.”
“The whole fiasco has been a mess of Emery’s own making and it was inevitable that it culminated with Xhaka losing the armband.
“The Spaniard was left with no choice after the events that unfolded against Crystal Palace, and the next big question concerns what this means for Xhaka’s future.
“He does not appear to be the type of individual who will easily admit defeat but it’s difficult to see where he fits into the long-term plan in north London. Don’t be surprised if this signals the beginning of the end for the Switzerland international.”